A court in Iran has once again condemned British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. She‘s going to jail for a year. According to her lawyer, who has spoken with press agency AP and the BBC, she has been found guilty of spreading propaganda against the Iranian regime. The sentence would have been imposed for participating in a protest at the Iranian Embassy in London, in 2009.
Previously, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to prison for conspiracy to overthrow the regime. Iranian state media have not yet reported the new conviction.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity of the British press agency of the same name. She was arrested at the airport of Tehran in April 2016 when she wanted to travel back to England with her 2-year-old daughter after visiting her family.
Her prison sentence was converted to house arrest last year, and she had to serve the rest of her sentence with her parents in Tehran, with an ankle bracelet on. She was cut loose last month because her sentence was over. But she was immediately subpoenaed again, preventing her from returning to London.
“Inhumane and utterly unjust”
British Prime Minister Johnson says that his country will “double its efforts” to release Zaghari-Ratcliffe. “It is not right that she should be sentenced to any prison sentence,” Johnson said to journalists. He says there’s cooperation with the United States. Foreign Minister Raab is also furious. He speaks of an “inhumane and utterly unjust” decision.
It is precisely now that Britain and Iran are negotiating a frozen balance of some EUR 430 million. In 1976, a few years before the Islamic revolution of 1979, the Iranians paid for the purchase of 1750 tanks. Over 1500 tanks were eventually not delivered by the British because of international sanctions, but had already been paid. Family members and supporters of Zaghari-Ratcliffe think it is being used for those negotiations.